There's nothing like a good night's rest, and going through days, weeks, months without one can be torture. Your workflow, your energy levels, your social life all lag if you aren't clocking consistent quality sleep. In America today the number of young adults seeking sleeping pills and other aids is staggering and also unhealthy. Sleeping pills and the like tend to create dependency and fail to solve the root cause of poor sleep. So here are some simple and easily implemented hacks that can help you ride the waves of your body's natural energy cycles better and sleep like a champ. Who wants to be better at sleeping? I know I do.
Proper Nap Time
During the course of the day our bodies hit a natural energy plateau. That means daily around 1-3 we start to feel pooped. It's apart of the bodies natural rhythm and if you must nap, this is the optimal time of the day for it. A quick 15-30 minute nap will revitalize your life and put you into high gear for the second half of the day. And for my coffee drinkers who'd like an added boost, try a little coffee before your nap, the caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick into action, so you'll arise from your nap with an extra kick.
Clear Your Mind
How many of us have found ourselves laying in the bed with our minds racing too fast to actual enter into a restful state of mind? Two to three hours before bed, start to let go of the day. Leave the office at the office. Your bed is your sanctuary. A very powerful hack is to write down whatever is worrying you before falling asleep - expressing gratitude that your mind will find a solution through the night, then rest easy. This technique has helped people sleep with peaceful minds since antiquity.
Watch What You Eat
While diet is important all the time, particularly for a good nights rest you should be mindful of your intake. Try not to eat super heavy foods right before bedtime. The digestive system uses a large amount of active energy in the body in order to break down foods and disperse nutrients. It's like having an active system going on in your body while you're also telling it to rest. A nice filling meal a few hours for bed - and once your body is finished it's digestive work, it will be nice and tired, and prepared to enter that restful state.
Regular exercise is clutch, and helps keep the body balanced. Be wary of exercising too near to bedtime however as the post work out energy boost will do more to keep you awake than put you to sleep. Use that post energy boost to kickass before bedtime and then you'll be nice and puckered out. Light mind-body activities like tai chai and nighttime yoga routines are also really great ways of diffusing energy, and relaxing the muscles in preparation for sleep mode.
Lights Out, Power Off
Do all you can to create a pitch black and quiet undisturbed sleep environment. All the little lights from your electronics actually interfere with your sleep. Cover the digital display of your alarm clock, cable box, or dvd player, etc. Even turning your cell phone off for the night is suggested. Aside from its rings, dings, vibrations, and lights - studies show that EMFs emitted from your cellular devices disrupts sleep patterns.
Keeping the bedroom between 67-72 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Too hot or too cool and the body cannot properly enter and maintain sleep mode as it also undergoes the restorative processes of rebuilding your body. Fresh clean bedding also promotes a cool clean happy sleeping feel.
What To Do If You Wake Up in the Middle of the Night
Its not unnatural for people to wake up in the middle of the night, and it's something you shouldn't fight. Back in older times we held two sleep sessions - one earlier and one later. The time in between these sleep sessions would be used for such great undertakings as reading, having sex, thinking, writing. These are the golden hours so seize them. This promotes a very healthy and satisfied second round of sleep. Remember the aim is also the quality and restorative depth of the sleep, not just the number of hours.